THERE should be a bumper crop for this year’s Pershore Plum Festival thanks to a wet winter and recent heatwave.

The month-long celebrations officially kick off on Saturday, with a party in the town’s Plum Alley.

TV comedian Alistair McGowan, who grew up in nearby Evesham, is the newly-appointed Festival Patron and will be visiting ahead of the grand finale over the late August Bank Holiday weekend.

Angela Tidmarsh, Wychavon District Council’s tourism officer and festival organiser, said: “What makes this event special is Pershore and its people. The whole community joins in – shops dress their windows in purple, people wear purple to all our events and there is a carnival atmosphere throughout August within the town.”

This year’s Pershore Plum Princess was plucked from a record number of applications on Sunday. A judging panel, which included Royal Worcester porcelain expert Henry Sandon and last year’s princess Alicia Mardle, selected nineyear- old Mia Brotherton from a field of 10 hopefuls.

The Fladbury CE First School pupil was chosen with eight-year-old Bryony Boulton and 10-yearold Amelia Burgess, both of Holy Redeemer Primary School.

Mia said: “I have always dreamt of being a princess. It will be a magical experience and I will get to wear pretty dresses and a sparkly crown; thank you for choosing me.”

The ceremony was organised by Judith Synnuck from the Little Shoe Box and took place at the at the Angel Hotel.

Pershore pub The Star is holding a plum festival event on Saturday, August 10 with a visit from pirate Jack Sparrow. Children can meet the star from 1.30pm to 3.30pm with river trips, stalls and a bouncy castle able to be enjoyed before live music in the evening.

Visit pershoreplumfestival.